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April 12, 2010 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2010-04-12

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8A - Monday, April 12, 2010

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

ARTS IN BRIEF

FILM REVIEW
'Runaways' can't
escape the common
biopic formula
**i
The Runaways
At the State
Apparition
The brand new biopic "The
Runaways" is a refreshing idea,
considering it has one of the most
definitive all-girl rock bands of
all time as its narrative founda-
tion. Kristen Stewart ("Twilight")
and Dakota Fanning ("War of
the Worlds") play Joan Jett and
Cherie Currie, respectively. Both
embody their roles satisfactorily,
as one would expect from their
previous work - though it's rather

unsettling to witness our favorite
prototypical "cute girl" (Fanning,
of course) engaging in disturbing-
ly debaucherous deeds onscreen.
The film chronicles the short-
lived existence of punk sensation
The Runaways, a band originally
composed of Cherie Currie, Lita
Ford, Jackie Fox, Joan Jett and
Sandy West. These five female
sex symbols were introduced to
the sordid world of mainstream
music at a very young age, when
some of them were only in their
mid-teens. The majority of screen
time is dedicated to showcasing
Fanning and Stewart as up-and-
coming young actresses, but their
excursion through the bowels of
the music industry isn't anything
to cheer at; it's the same old man-
tra of sex, drugs and rock'n'roll.
Yawn.
The whole film is just another
reexamination of a familiar plot
thread, too: rags-to-riches, back

to rags and finally to an ulti-
mate sense of renewal. The story
arc most closely resembles that
of the Mark Wahlberg vehicle
"Rock Star" in its use of predict-
able dramatic turns to pull the
same overworn heartstrings, but
its unorthodox thematic material
definitely deserves a closer look.
In spite of spending only four
years together, The Runaways had
a definitive historical role as the
precursor to dozens of punk rock
acts composed of both men and
women, including The Donnas,
Courtney Love, Babes In Toyland
and Black Flag. However, if you'd
prefer an in-depth analysis of
this pivotal band as opposed to its
sanitized Hollywood counterpart,
watch "Edgeplay: A Film About
the Runaways." It's an accurate,
comprehensive documentary
feature that's far more likely to
please die-hard fans.
TIMOTHY RABB

- I .p
COURTESY OF A&E
"Yeah broke another sne
Stay away, 'Runaway'

Joe Mazilli's
machismo proves
too much for new
reality show
By ANT MITCHELL
DailyArts Writer
The embodiment of every
asshole to ever breathe excited
machismo into
a microphone
on "Cops" can
be found in Joe Runaway
Mazilli. And his
tucked-in muscle
shirts don't work Mondays at
any miracles on 10p.m.
A&E's new real- A&E
life series "Run-
away Squad."
Mazilli, a retired NYPD detec-
tive, takes to the streets along-
side a team of experts in search
of a weekly runaway teen. Mazilli
became involved with this cause
out of his work on the police
force's "Pimp Squad," where he
uncovered the funneling of many
female runaways into prostitu-
tion. With 5,000 runaways dying
each year, according to Mazilli,

it's a cause that has been drastical-
ly overlooked. Very few wouldn't
sympathize with a theme involv-
ing the search for 15-year-old
Tayvela, last seen after a beating
from seven gang members. But
the subject matter of the show is
not where the issue lies. Rather,
it's the terrible construction of
"Runaway Squad" that's up for
debate.
Basically, if "Runaway Squad"
were a chocolate mousse, Mazilli
and his band of fellow histrionics
slop a tablespoon of over-dramati-
zation equivalent to fish sauce into
its creamy base, polluting what
once had a lot of potential. It's an
overpowering flavor, and it should
certainly taste fishy to viewers.
Comments like "It's up to us now"
and "I don't back down from a
threat" are just eye-roll inducers.
The sad truth of the matter is
that you want to be impressed by
Mazilli. Anyone who spends nine
years infiltrating the mob and
earns the Medal of Valor must
have some serious backbone. But
honestly, he seems a lot like an ape
with an over-stimulated pituitary
gland, breathing testosterone and
playing with guns. Moreover, the
annoying background he gives
(running with a tough crowd until

"my brother convinced me I was
going to end up just like them") is
literally the most vague and pre-
dictable bit of personal history
ever
The most difficult thing to
stomach about "Runaway Squad"
occurs when Mazilli finally
does find Tayvela, then decides
that playing therapist between
daughter and mother would be
appropriate. Not to re-invoke the
ape imagery, but watching his
attempts to manipulate the two
women's psyches into a healthy,.
loving and communicative moth-
er-daughter relationship is a lot
like watching a pair of hairy hands
slap a Band-Aid on an emotional
gunshot wound. This girl needed
a ton of psychiatric help, not a ses-
sion with Mazilli's bare arms and
silver chain necklaces.
Perhaps the highest point in the
entire episode is the minute-long
conversation the other investiga-
tors have about the merits of cof-
fee versus tea versus cocaine as
they shmuck around the office
before Mazilli walks in. That's a
single minute of humor, but sadly
it doesn't justify the creation of
the entire show. Basically, unless
you lack any sort of TV taste buds,
steer clear of "Runaway Squad."

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